Last night, December 15, National Grid held a community informational meeting at Northport Village Hall to answer questions regarding the upcoming main line replacement project. Brian Sapp, a public relations manager for National Grid, and Clint Roger, a senior field engineer, presented an overview of the plan to the room of Village board members, business owners and residents. They then answered questions from the audience, providing additional insights on the project since the publication of our December 8 article.
The gas main replacement work will begin on January 3, with a crew of about seven people, two large trucks, a backhoe and a trencher working to dig trenches eight inches wide along Main Street in order to install what National Grid is calling a “modernized gas system that is safer, cleaner and more resilient.” These improvements were mandated by the state, with the requirement to replace old infrastructure, and now National Grid is working through Long Island municipalities to install two-inch plastic pipes that are safer for natural gas and other renewable resources, and are expected to last more than 70 years.
“This is to future-proof ourselves,” Roger said at the meeting. Last April, National Grid announced that by 2050, they will be 100% fossil-free in their New York electric and gas systems. These plastic pipes, Sapp said, allow for these renewable solutions in the future.
The work will be done under the concrete between the sidewalk curb and the rail lines; there are about 96 service lines (also called laterals) along Main Street that will have to be cut and reconnected to the new main line.
Businesses and homes along Main Street will have gas service during the project, except for when their gas is transferred to the new line, which will be scheduled with each individual home or business owner in advance. “You’ll only lose service for an hour at most,” Roger explained, but if the indoor plumbing for the location is older and out of code with a major violation, it will have to be rectified by a plumber before service could be restored. Whenever possible, repair jobs will be done by the crew with no charge to the customer.
The crew will place the new line on both sides of the road down Main Street, then go back to attach the service lines. At the end of each day, a hot asphalt mix that’s tamped down will fill in the work hole, and all concrete will be replaced at the very end of the project, which is expected to be in late April/early May.
There may be some areas that require the crew to break up the sidewalk in order to run a lateral line, but that depends, Roger said, and if it does happen, the sidewalk in that area would be replaced “within hours.”
Questions addressed during the informational meeting include the following:
When will the project begin and during what hours?
The project begins January 3, from 7am to 3pm on weekdays. Saturday work will be considered on an as-needed basis.
Where will the work start?
The current plan is to start at the corner of Ocean Avenue and Main Street, working towards the harbor and back up Main Street again. It has not yet been determined what side of the street they will start on.
What part of the road/sidewalk will be impacted?
Trenches are being dug into a concrete panel that’s just outside the sidewalk, in the street. When the new gas line is connected, the trench will be covered with asphalt and the crew will move on to the next section.
How long will the crew be in front of each home or business?
The crew will cover about 250-300 feet per day, so a typical storefront will be impacted for about half a day.
What kind of traffic should be expected?
There will be no road closures, but expect lane shifts, merging traffic and delays down Main Street from January through May.
Who is doing the work?
National Grid hired the subcontractor Asplundh Construction to complete this project.
Where will the machinery be kept in the evenings during the project?
There will be a staging area that’s currently planned to be at Scudder Park.
Who should you call if there’s a problem?
The first call should be to Asplundh Construction at 631-205-9340. You can also speak to the National Grid onsite field inspector who will be in a branded vehicle or call National Grid at 631-206-7433.
Is there a corresponding plan for sidewalk/Main Street improvements?
At this time, the Main Street Committee and Northport Village Board have not announced any plans for corresponding work on sidewalks, meters, trees or other areas of Main Street.